With millions of eager, influential members, the Centennials and young Millennials who make up today’s youth marketplace represent one of the largest and most important audiences for marketers to reach. However, as culture constantly evolves, the youth marketplace also looks different from year to year. This year is no exception. Understanding these shifts in Centennials’ mindsets and interests is paramount in determining how to effectively market to this developing generation.

Transitioning to Adulthood

As more and more Centennials are reaching adult age, they are experiencing certain rites of passage that mark this significant transition from adolescence to adulthood. As Centennials turn 18 and 19 years old, they are increasingly moving away from things associated with youth and being a teenager. In this crucial time, Centennials change from voting in school elections to voting in national elections and from going to high school to going to college. Marketers need to understand the change that takes place during this critical period in the life of a Centennial.

Marketers should realize that Centennials are looking for mature brands that will acknowledge this significant transition into adulthood. Older Centennials will not be impressed with marketing strategies that focus solely on youth and adolescence. Despite their relative youth, Centennials want to be taken seriously as adults. Marketers can then continue to use this strategy of more mature approach to marketing as an increasing number of Centennials are entering this transitional period.

Changing Spending Patterns

Just as Centennials’ mindsets are changing as they grow older, their spending patterns are also reflecting this maturing. On average, Centennials are spending less money in the current marketplace. In light of their increasing disillusionment with reckless materialism and purely tangible goals, Centennials are beginning to save their money in order to ensure financial security for themselves and their future families. Centennials, well aware of the temporal nature of money in a changeable economy, are more hesitant than ever to carelessly spend all their money on material things.

While marketers may be discouraged that Centennials are very reluctant to spend their money in the marketplace, there are several strategies that businesses can employ to ensure success. While Centennials are indeed not spending as much money in the marketplace, they are still spending money. Centennials are simply becoming more cognizant of what they are buying and whom they are buying from. Brands should focus on making certain that their products and brand messaging reflect authenticity and practicality. Centennials want to know that they are making ethical economic and social decisions.

Celebrating Unity in Diversity

The Centennial and young Millennial generation is rapidly changing the direction of today’s culture. Never willing to settle for tradition or monotony, Centennials are urging for acceptance and inclusivity in our society. Whether through edgy ad campaigns or non-traditional brand messaging, several brands are already successfully reaching the powerful Centennial consumer base by capitalizing on this love for cutting-edge innovation.

Centennials celebrate risk-taking, even if the risks do not always pay off. Brands should be willing to experiment and try new approaches to marketing even if these attempts are not all successful. The Centennial generation represents the future of marketing, and in order to successfully plan for this future, marketers should begin to study and learn about this generation now. If marketers spend the time and money to reach the Centennial generation, they will ensure their brands’ success for years to come.

Varsity Spirit Partnering with Leading Consumer Brands

Varsity Spirit is partnering with our corporate sponsors to help effectively position them on the technology platforms most effectively used by youth markets.  This may be everything from joint Tweets/posts or even collaborative Snapchat efforts.  Varsity Spirit is here to support your brand.  To learn more contact our sponsorship representatives by clicking here.

Reference & Future Reading

Insights and research data provided by Kantar Futures